Have you ever been in charge of a recurring meeting in a project or a collaboration, and when the meeting is about to start you ask yourself “What are we going to talk about today?” — and you have gone completely blank? You know it has happened things during the week which you should discuss, but you just cannot remember what it was right now.
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Or, have you been about to leave a meeting and come to think of something you really should have brought up during the meeting just as you are stepping out of the doorway? It would have been great if it had been on the agenda at the beginning of the meeting. And what a relief it would be if the agenda could more or less write itself prior to the meeting so that these things would no longer occur.
Like a sudden snowfall in May
It is not always easy to recall what we ought to bring up as we sit down to prepare the agenda for a meeting. On the contrary, the ideas tend to spring up anytime in between the meetings, when we are on the go, when we are on a roll, or when the questions are steaming hot and fresh at the top of our mind.
If we could easily add items to the agenda as things come to mind somewhere where it will be easily accessible during the meeting itself, the agenda would be written progressively and with very little effort.
Close to the upcoming meeting
As soon as you come to think of something you want to discuss during the next meeting, strive to make a note as “close” to the meeting situation as possible so that you will not need to remember to retrieve or bring the agenda prior to the meeting.
It can be an agenda document in a digital folder that you share with your colleagues. Or, you can write it directly in the booking for the meeting in the calendar, such as in the Collaborative Meeting Notes feature in Teams. Or somewhere else where you will “be” during the meeting.
A few years ago, every Monday, I had a meeting with a bureau I had been working with for a while. We shared an ongoing log in Google Drive where we made note of what we discussed during the meeting, and where we kept the agenda for the next meeting as well. Directly after each meeting, the bureau’s representative created an empty agenda for the next meeting which both of us filled in as soon as something came up during the week. This made it easy for us to maintain focus and keep a good tempo during our meetings, as well as easily get the things we decided we would do during them, done.
Do you have upcoming meetings for which you could use an easy-to-fill-out agenda but still do not have one set up? Decide exactly where you will keep or put the agenda template from this day onwards. Will you put it in a folder, in a document, in an app, in OneNote, straight in the calendar or someplace entirely different?
Now do what remains to establish that new place or location. It is probably rather easily fixed, so do it right away — it will be done quickly and you can then move on to other things.
More meaningful meetings
If you (and all the others who will join the meeting) have an easily accessible place where you can add items to the agenda at any time, it will become easier to get the right things done during your meetings. At the end of the meeting, you will remember fewer things that should have been discussed during it, and the risk of having longer meetings than necessary will decrease.
How do you do it?
Do you have other tricks or tips on how to write agendas for meetings with minimal effort? A penny for your best idea. Please tell me.
(Have you heard about this cure for unfocused meetings?
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